Illinois Tollway unveils fleet of new trucks with enhanced safety features like lane clearing blades

Tuesday, June 25, 2024
Illinois Tollway unveiling new vehicles with enhanced safety features
New Illinois Tollway trucks have enhanced safety features like lane-clearing blades and mounted cameras to protect drivers and the motorists they help

BENSENVILLE, Ill. (WLS) -- Illinois Tollway vehicles are about to get more sophisticated, with better lighting, better technology, and most importantly a new tool to help clear debris from the roadway while the driver never has to get out of the vehicle.

ABC7 got a glimpse of the new trucks Tuesday. They're brighter, with new electronic messaging allowing both the truck operator and the motorist they are helping stay safe.

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"We wanted to make sure that our customers see what we are putting on the road for their safety and their assistance," said Deputy Chief of Traffic and Incident Management Steve Mednis.

A new tool called a retractable lane blade is able to clear debris from the roadway fast, and the driver can stay safety in the truck and get a view of what is going on around them from brand new cameras, including one mounted on the blade itself.

Tollway workers are already seeing benefits.

"We got a lot more technology on these trucks," Lonnie Phillips, equipment operator. "It's going to make our job easier and make our job safer."

Each truck costs $260,000. There are 12 new trucks in the fleet, and six are already on the road helping motorists. The other six will hit the road within the next two weeks.

"Our former fleet that's on the way out now is roughly 400,000- to 500,000-plus miles on each of them, but it's tremendous in and of itself. But we needed to get these implemented," Mednis said. "So we are really excited to see them get out there."